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Schoolboy’s asthma plea to Eric Pickles over New End development

PUBLISHED: 11:25 20 March 2015 | UPDATED: 11:27 20 March 2015

Campaigners including Jessica Learmond Criqui, comedian Alan Davies, local residents and staff and students from Heathside Prep and Christchurch School deliver a letter to Eric Pickles office on 13.03.15. Pictured front Astrid Cohen (8) from Heathside

Campaigners including Jessica Learmond Criqui, comedian Alan Davies, local residents and staff and students from Heathside Prep and Christchurch School deliver a letter to Eric Pickles office on 13.03.15. Pictured front Astrid Cohen (8) from Heathside

Archant

A feisty seven-year-old schoolboy summed up the feelings of more than 1,000 protesters when he marched over to a representative for government minister Eric Pickles and urged him to halt the controversial New End development in Hampstead.

Matteo's letter to Mr PicklesMatteo's letter to Mr Pickles

A feisty seven-year-old schoolboy summed up the feelings of more than 1,000 protesters when he marched over to a representative for government minister Eric Pickles and urged him to halt the controversial New End development in Hampstead.

Little Matteo made his plea on behalf of his brother Roman who, he explained, suffers from asthma and would not be able to breathe from dust if the building work goes ahead.

Matteo (pictured far right) was among a crowd of schoolchildren, parents and teachers, including comedian Alan Davies, who travelled to the Home Office to see communities and local government minister Mr Pickles and hand him their 1,500-strong petition.

The petition urges the MP to intervene to stop developers bulldozing a former nurses’ home in New End to make way for a seven-storey block of 17 luxury flats and an underground car park, which was recently granted planning permission.

Worried communities from three neighbouring primary schools –Heathside, New End and Christ Church – fear the building work and construction lorries will have a serious impact on the health, safety and education of thousands of young schoolchildren.

When Mr Pickles representative came down to greet them, Matteo was determined to have his say.

The youngster marched over and asked where Mr Pickles was. He then told him: “If this development goes ahead, my brother has bad asthma and if there is dust and pollution he can’t breathe.”

The adviser explained that Mr Pickles was out for the day but that he would hand over Matteo’s letter to him.

In the letter (pictured above) Matteo writes: “I love going to school and learning. Please respect my right to an education. If there is a lot of noise and dust and pollution, it will be hard to learn.

“Plus, my brother Roman, won’t be able to breathe because his asthma is very bad.”

His letter was among 161 from parents and children handed over to Mr Pickles on Friday.

As reported in the Ham&High, the scheme was originally rejected by Camden Council in 2013, but Karawana Holdings Limited, based in the British Virgin Islands, launched an appeal against the decision and the government’s Planning Inspectorate ruled that the works can go ahead.

Protesters had also objected to the scheme’s negative impact on the character of the conservation area, the lack of affordable housing provided, a large number of parking spaces and the effect on traffic congestion in the area.

Campaigners want Mr Pickles to use his power to revoke planning consent. They may also consider launching a judicial review.

Head of planning casework Richard Watson said campaigners would receive a response within three weeks.


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